Delco Dems Hire Tabas Firm To Fight Open Records Appeal; What’s Up With That?

Delco Dems Hire Tabas Firm To Fight Open Records Appeal; What’s Up With That? –Delaware County has hired the powerhouse Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel law firm to fight a right to know appeal by Leah Hoopes of Chadds Ford for county election return board records.

The appeal was made May 8 to the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records.

Seriously, Delco what is the big secret? You realize how many Pennsylvanians no longer trust the elections? A little transparency would go a long way.

Leave that aside, though, there is a more troubling issue.

Lawrence Tabas is a partner at Obermayer, where he heads the Election Law Practice Group.

Tabas side gig is chairing the Pennsylvania Republican Party.

If Tabas wants to put on the fig leaf that it’s his law firm and not he that is involved in this defense of Delaware County Democrats, it’s sleight of hand to distract from the point.

Namely, Tabas, the leader of the opposition, is refusing to take a free, easy and effective shot at the other side.

Why isn’t the Delaware County government being called out for its lack of transparency?

The state and county GOPs should be releasing statements and holding press conferences asking what is this thing the Democrats are fighting so hard to hide.

They are not.

Kind of makes you go hmmm.

By the way, Obermayer has tasked attorney Terry Mutchler with defending the county. Ms. Mutchler was the first director of the Office of Open Records when it began in 2008.

A whole lot of effort is being made to keep the public from seeing this records.

Again, hmmmm.

Delco Dems Hire Tabas Firm To Fight Open Records Appeal; What's Up With That?
Delco Dems Hire Tabas Firm To Fight Open Records Appeal; What's Up With That?
Seriously, Larry, whose side are you on?

Delco Dems Hire Tabas Firm To Fight Open Records Appeal; What’s Up With That?

Chesco Judge Accused Of Errors In Decision

Chesco Judge Accused Of Errors In Decision — Chester County Common Pleas Court Judge Anthony Vewrey has been blasted in a filing regarding his Dec. 18 denial to allow Republican Recorder of Deeds candidate Brian D. Yanoviak — and others — access to digital copies of various election records including ballots, unredacted outer envelopes for mail-in ballots, unredacted poll books and the cast vote record for the central tabulator.

Yanoviak is being assisted by Greg Stenstrom, a Delaware County poll watcher and election integrity watchdog.

Others are being represented by attorney Renee Mazer.

The plaintiffs say that Vewrey cited arguments they did not make in their complaint; invoked standards that were not applicable; and incorrectly cited state law, among other things.

“With regard to Judge Verwey’s characterizations of Pro Se Plaintiff’s Yanoviak’s and attorney Mazer’s statements at the close of the one-hour hearing, Judge Verwey either misheard or plainly misstates, what they said and neither Yanoviak or Mazer said there was no fraud, rather they were not alleging any “specific” fraud,” the complaint reads.

The complaints claim that there are legitimate concerns of fraud or errors. This is enough under state law to allow for the relief being sought.

The case is off to Commonwealth Court.

Chesco Judge Accused Of Errors In Decision

Chesco Judge Accused Of Errors In Decision

Fort Orange Press, What’s The Secret Delco?

Fort Orange Press, What’s The Secret Delco? — Robert Mancini of the good-government group Delco Deepdivers sought, in December 2022, records concerning Delaware County’s dealings with ballot-printer Fort Orange Press.

Mancini of Media wanted emails between the county and the Albany, N.Y. printer along with the names of those requesting the ballots.

Delco said no, the people may not see!

Considering the suspicion that is dividing our nation regarding elections, that was probably unwise but maybe there was a legitimate reason.

Perhaps the correspondence contained nuclear codes. Perhaps there were plans for an invasion of Russia. Who are we to judge?

There is a way to appeal via the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, however, and Rob did so in January 2023.

The Office said let the people see.

At this point, a sane and competent government would have conceded, grudgingly or not, and the people would see.

Delco, however, appealed to Common Pleas Court.

This is allowed.

But why do it? It does make one go hmmmmm, after all. Really, what’s the big secret? There is a logical explanation, of course, but it’s not one the county should want its citizens to reach.

The hearing scheduled for this month has been postponed.

Rob says the contract with Fort Orange specifically says the dealings are subject to right-to-know.

Fort Orange Press, What's The Secret Delco?

Pennsylvanians May Photograph Public Records Says Open Records Office

Pennsylvanians May Photograph Public Records Says Open Records Office — The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, yesterday, Aug. 14, issued a decision — Muenz v. Township of Reserve — which holds that requesters can photograph public records which they asked to inspect.

Under the Right-to-Know Law, agencies cannot charge requesters who wish to use their own equipment, such as a smartphone, to photograph public records which they asked to inspect, the agency ruled.

Just something to know if a clerk gives one grief about being a curious citizen.

Pennsylvanians May Photograph Public Records Says Open Records Office

Pennsylvania County Fights Open Records Decisions On Elections; Why The Fear?

Pennsylvania County Fights Open Records Decisions Regarding Elections; Why The Fear? — Robert Mancini of Media filed right-to-know requests last year for public records relating to elections in Delaware County, Pa., which the county rejected.

Mancini wanted to know who installed the software on the voting machines, the date it was it installed, and the hash code of the software installed. He also wanted to know who requested absentee ballots at the county level; email correspondence between the Fort Orange Press of Albany, N.Y., which prints the county’s election ballots, along with the names of those requesting the ballots. He also wanted the number voter lists, a list of those removed from voter list for reasons such as deaths and moving, and the 90-day report on how the money from the election integrity grant received from the county was spent.

Mancini appealed to Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records which overruled the county and said that Mancini had a right to the info.

After hemming and hawing, the Democrats who run Delco conceded these four and Mancini awaits the documents.

However, the county is appealing these four to Common Pleas Court.

Why the fight? The county’s actions make it impossible not to go “hmmm, what are they hiding?”

Tens of thousands of Delaware County residents believe the elections are rigged here. This is troubling and dangerous.

Yet, there is no innocent explanation for the county’s actions.

What Mancini wants are obviously things to which the public has a right. Correspondence with a vender? The number of voters who cast a ballot in a precinct in Marple? The mail-in ballot applications the printer received? Who installed what software on certain voting machines in Marple?

Provide a reason for these to be secret.

Other than corruption, of course.

And why does the county have to go to New York to get a printer for Pennsylvania ballots?

A final question: Why isn’t the Delco GOP speaking out for Mancini? This isn’t about calling into question elections. This is about convincing the public that the elections are trustworthy.

This is about good governance and common sense.

Again, what the county is doing only raises suspicion.

Pennsylvania County Fights Open Records Decisions On Elections
Mancini cases upheld by the Office of Open Records that the county still wants hidden

Pennsylvania County Fights Open Records Decisions On Elections; Why The Fear?

Open Data Search Engine

Open Data Search Engine — We just received the September newsletter from the Sunlight Foundation, which is an organization that advocates for government transparency.

Open Data Search EngineThe articles are from July and are a tad dated but they are still worth perusing.

Sunlight notes that more than 60 of the delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philly were registered lobbyists.

It explains the benefits that can be had in forcing candidates to release tax returns.

It also provides a useful search engine for open data policies for governmental entities.

Open Data Search Engine

 

Top Donors 2014 As Per Sunlight

Top Donors 2014 As Per SunlightTop Donors 2014— Sunlight Foundation which does yeoman’s work showing how our political campaigns and crusades are funded recently distributed a best-of 2015 which included this dissection from April of where the money went in the 2014 election from the “one percent of the one percent”.  They hold this category contains 31,976 persons who contributed $1.18 billion.

Sunlight noted that this money skewed slightly to the GOP and conservatives — $553 million verses $505 million to Democrats and liberals. The top donors, however, were overwhelmingly D.

Liberal hedge fund manger Tom Steyer  spent $73,884, 467,  which is more than the next 17 Republicans combined. A nice chunk of it went to the campaign for Tom Wolf.

The number 2 donor was former New York Mayor Michale Bloomberg who once upon a time was a Republican but has since moved solely into the camp of country-club progressives. He gave $11,042,800 of which $10,527,600 went to the left.

Sunlight is a critic of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that held that the First Amendment prohibited government interference with political spending by non-profit groups. Much of this money now goes to “super PACs” which are political action committees that don’t make direct contributions to candidates but stick to issues.

Criticism of Citizens United is extremely short-sighted. The Supreme Court got it right. The largest media organization in the world is Philadelphia-based Comcast. It’s “news” outlets are NBC and its spin-offs, which are basically Democrat propaganda machines. The New York Times, despite its fading reputation, is also a partisan mouthpiece. There is no inherent difference between a group of people chipping in to send out mailings and make posters to disseminate information than a New York Times front page story except that the mailings and posters are likely  far more honest and accurate.

Top Donors 2014 As Per Sunlight

 

 

Written Policy Advances Transparency

Sunlight Foundation is doing yeoman’s work to ensure transparency in the political process. Written Policy Advances Transparency -- Stephen Larrick of the Foundation has an article that explains how a written policy is more than just a symbolic document but a practical tool.  Larrick noted that a written policy codifies and advances existing practice, builds internal buy-in, invites public engagement, and builds a legal framework for accountability and enforcement.

Stephen Larrick of the Foundation has an article that explains how a written policy is more than just a symbolic document but a practical tool.

Larrick noted that a written policy codifies and advances existing practice, builds internal buy-in, invites public engagement, and builds a legal framework for accountability and enforcement.

One can read the complete thing here.

Written Policy Advances Transparency

Montco Transparency

Bob Guzzardi has sent us a link to Montgomery County’s new online budget tool and has offered praise for those who conceived it specifically noting that they were Democrats. Montco Transparency -- Bob Guzzardi has sent us a link to Montgomery County's new online budget tool and has offered praise for those who conceived specifically noting that they were Democrats.

So thank you Bob and we join in offering kudos to the government transparency-supporting Montgomery County Democrats.

Montco Transparency

Sunlight Foundation Gives FOIA Experience

Evan Mackinder of Sunlight Foundation tells us that his organization has a tool that let’s one experience firsthand the results of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and create poetry that one may tweet to the world. Sunlight Foundation Gives FOIA Experience

It can be found here.

Don’t forget to tweet your congressman to let him or her know you want open government.

Sunlight Foundation Gives FOIA Experience